Problems Solved

Representation of Design Professionals

Successful Settlement of an Action Against the Design and Construction Teams of a 40 Story Hotel Arising From an $80 Million Fire Loss

The firm successfully resolved an 80 million dollar fire loss claim against the architect-of-record (a joint venture of two architectural firms) who designed a multi-story hotel that caught fire during construction. Arson had been suspected but, without a convicted arsonist, attention turned to the design of the building envelope materials and a claim they were not fire-retardant and code-compliant. After three days of mediation we resolved the matter for our clients at a small percentage of exposure.

Successful Resolution of a Multi-Million Dollar Claim that the Heating and Cooling Systems Designed for an Ultra-Luxury Condominium Project Were Under-Designed

We successfully resolved the developer’s claims that it had to redesign and retrofit the heating and cooling systems in nearly all of the units in one of Philadelphia’s most-luxurious condominium developments. Given the notoriety of the development, and reputations of the developer and the unit owners, and of the design professionals we represented, resolution required sensitive handling and several mediation sessions among the stake holders which resulted in settlement without adverse publicity to the project or participants, and at a sum much less than sought.

Successful resolution of a deficient design claim for a designer and construction manager of a warehouse distribution facility

We represented the designer and construction manager of a warehouse distribution facility against a claim that a 150,000 square foot floor was deficient in its design and/or construction, requiring the entire floor to be replaced at a cost of $2.2 million. The case was litigated in an American Arbitration Association proceeding for seven days. We succeeded in disproving the fundamental bases of the claim, and the case was then settled for a nominal sum.

Successful settlement in favor of engineer on developer's claim

We were retained to defend an engineer which had been sued by a developer. The developer claimed that its proposed multi-use project was denied by a municipality due to design errors by the engineer. During trial, we settled the case for less than 10% of the developer's claimed damages, and we recovered a substantial payment for the engineer on account of its unpaid billings.

Successful settlement in favor of engineer on Kazakhstan project

We represented an engineer sued for an alleged, serious design error in a construction project in Kazakhstan. We were able to settle the case for an amount that represented less than 20% of the claimed damages, and as part of the settlement we protected the engineer from any personal payment obligation.

Successful settlement of action against architect in multi-phase condominium project

We successfully represented the architect-of- record in a multi-party action involving owner and general contractor claims totaling approximately $27,000,000 arising from the construction of the first phase of a multi-phase condominium and spa project with construction costs in excess of $100,000,000.

Establishment of new legal precedent permitting recovery of attorneys’ fees from state agencies

We successfully opposed PaDOT and Pa DEP concerning a planned state highway project that our client concluded would cause environmental damage. As a result of our litigation against the state agencies, the necessary permits and approvals for the project were cancelled. Following such successful efforts, we then established a new legal precedent in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that allowed our client to recover from the state agencies our client's attorneys fees incurred in opposing those permits.

Successful resolution of claim against architectural firm involving design of concert hall

An internationally-acclaimed architectural firm retained Powell Trachtman to defend a $20 million errors and omission and delay/acceleration claim arising out of its efforts as project architect for a symphony concert hall. We favorably resolved all claims, and obtained a public statement of praise by the project owner for the architect's work.

Successful resolution of multi-million dollar hotel water intrusion/mold growth claim

We defended both the MEP engineering design firm and the interior designer of a multi-use facility against a multi-million dollar water intrusion and mold growth claim brought by the project's owner. Through our use of extensive and technically-detailed presentations in a multi-stage mediation process, we were able to resolve the claim in our clients' favor - one client made a very limited settlement contribution (far less than what had been anticipated), and the other made no settlement contribution at all.

Successful representation of highway design and engineering firms

Powell Trachtman represents numerous highway design and engineering firms in cases involving serious automobile and pedestrian accidents. In several recent cases, we successfully obtained pre-trial dismissals of engineering firms that were alleged to have improperly designed roadway improvements, and in another we obtained a dismissal during the trial through proof that the engineer's plans had been prepared in accordance with applicable design standards.

Successful resolution of a deficient design claim for a national engineering firm

Powell Trachtman represented a national engineering firm in a lawsuit by an owner of a distribution facility claiming deficient design in connection with a 1.3 million square foot concrete floor above the distribution facility. All of the contractors and their subcontractors were named as defendants/additional defendants in the case, and after a three-day mediation, and further intense negotiations thereafter, we successfully resolved the case for substantially less than had been reserved or anticipated.

Successful settlement in favor of architect on highway design claim

Powell Trachtman was retained to represent an architect in a death and catastrophic injury claim involving the design of a major highway. We successfully negotiated the release of the architect for less than 5% of the amounts paid by co-defendants.

Successful settlement in favor of engineer in airport case

Powell Trachtman represented an engineer in the successful resolution of a series of multi-million dollar law suits arising from the collapse of an aircraft de-icing boom during de-icing operations at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Successful settlement in favor or hardware manufacturer

Powell Trachtman represented a computer hardware manufacturer in a wrongful death action in which it was alleged that the plaintiff's decedent was killed when his head was crushed by the out-of-sequence operation of an overhead gantry. The case was settled on a highly favorable basis.

Case of first impression involving governmental immunity defense

Powell Trachtman represented architecture engineering firms that serve as township engineers and township code enforcement officers in a case involving tort claims asserted by a developer of a residential subdivision. The firm filed motions based on the defense of governmental immunity, and in a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court dismissed the claims against the clients and ruled that architecture and engineering firms are entitled to assert a governmental immunity defense in this context.

Successful defense in architectural malpractice claim involving medical facility

Powell Trachtman obtained a defense verdict in an arbitration involving the design of private surgical complex located in New Jersey. The arbitrator found that the firm's client, an architect, was not responsible for satisfying the accreditation requirements related to the design of facility since the architect was only requested to meet the less stringent local building code standards.

Successful settlement of architectural malpractice claim in roof collapse case

Powell Trachtman represented an architect in a suit arising from the collapse of the roof of a major product distribution warehouse that was alleged to have resulted in five million dollars in damages for the roof reconstruction, damaged inventory and related business losses. The suit was favorably resolved through mediation.

Defense of contractor in Philadelphia condominium cases

Powell Trachtman was retained to represent a contractor who had filed substantial mechanic's liens on two Philadelphia condominium projects. The firm obtained verdicts in favor of the contractor in two trials involving major issues involving the mechanic's lien process.

Defense of surveyor/engineer in failed land development

Powell Trachtman was retained by a surveyor/engineer that was sued for $750,000 by the developer of a failed residential development project. During a mediation, the firm successfully convinced the developer that the surveyor/engineer committed no wrongdoing, and that in any event the developer's claimed damages were overly speculative and not recoverable. The developer dismissed the claim without any payment from the firm's client.

Successful resolution on behalf of owner against bonding company

Powell Trachtman successfully negotiated the resolution of claims on behalf of the owner of multiple-building senior care complex against the bonding company of a defunct general contractor, and against multiple trade subcontractors, for defective work. We secured a substantial financial recovery for the owner, a release of the owner from the general contractor's payment claims, and the release of escrow funds being held by the municipality due to claims of uncompleted work.

Successful representation of inspector at utility renovation site

Powell Trachtman successfully represented the inspector at a multi-site utility renovation project against the claim of a construction worker who suffered serious bodily injury due to alleged safety violations. The claim was complicated by the fact that the primary contractor was defunct and lacked both liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance. We settled the case - our client made no contribution to the settlement and obtained reimbursement for a portion of its defense costs from co-defendants.

Successful representation of design professional in historic building damage claim

Powell Trachtman successfully defended a design professional against claims that our client's design and site-inspection services in conjunction with the construction of a new building caused an adjacent historic building to suffer structural cracks due to settlement. The case against our client was resolved before trial at a fraction of claimed damages.